The recession has hit the retail industry from all angles. U.S. retail e-commerce sales will shrink from $133.6 billion in 2008 to $133.1 billion in 2009. EMarketer estimates online sales will be relatively flat in 2009, with some signs of recovery beginning in 2010. As disappointing as sales were online, offline figures were even more lackluster in 2008. Sales shrank 0.6% for the year and each quarter showed less growth than in the e-commerce channel. Affluent online buyers were a major reason e-commerce sales fared better than retail industry sales. Affluent Internet users are more active than ever, on PCs and mobile devices, and their numbers continue to grow, even in a severe recession.
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